What Do Netflix's Top 10 Most Rented Movies Say About America?
Very soon, we'll no longer talk about the discs that people get from Netflix. The familiar red envelopes will start saying "Qwikster", Netflix will only be a home for streaming content, and let's be honest, in a few years it'll be very rare to get an actual, physical Blu-Ray or DVD instead of just streaming something off your computer. So in a fond look back at the good old days, THR has posted Netflix's top 10 most rented movies of all time, a list that's simultaneously surprisingly cool and completely inexplicable. Let's run through it.
10. No Country for Old Men. Sure. It was a big Oscar winner within the last few years, a movie very few people saw in theaters, and something that older people, who are attached to DVDs still, are likely to rent. Moving on.
9. Iron Man. Sure again. Big blockbuster, popular movie, way better than the newer sequel. Who doesn't want Robert Downey Jr. in their house?
8. Inception. Same deal as Iron Man-- big hit, major rewatchability. How many times can you watch that top to wait to see it fall down??
7. Sherlock Holmes. Well, OK. Yes, the movie was a big enough hit, and it's got a sequel coming in December, so the interest is still there. But doesn't Robert Downey Jr. seem a little over-represented on this list already?
6. The Departed. Same rules apply as No Country for Old Men, except The Departed was an even bigger hit. In fact, I kind of wish I were rewatching this movie right now.
5. The Hurt Locker. Wow, people really love catching up on their Oscar winners through Netflix. Nobody saw The Hurt Locker in theaters-- like, $17 million domestic box office nobody-- but apparently a gold statue can keep the Netflix attention rolling for years.
4. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I really have no explanation for this. The movie was nominated for Best Picture but didn't win, and was so ultimately forgettable that when The Social Network came out, we all acted like it was David Fincher's first movie since Zodiac. I have no idea how it's even on this list, much less so high.
3. The Bucket List. Seriously? Take what I said earlier about older people liking DVDs and double it-- this seems like the clearest evidence of a generation gap that I've seen. Who is renting this??
2. Crash. Alright, back to Oscar winners, though this perhaps the worst movie to win Best Picture in the last decade, and also the most popular. Is it because it's the most palatable to audiences? Features the most stars? What on earth has kept Crash on this list so many years after its cultural relevance?
1. The Blind Side. Remember being totally shocked when this movie snuck into the Best Picture top 10 last year? This is why-- people love this movie, for reasons totally beyond my understanding. And with the Sandra Bullock Oscar win and all that attention it's only gotten more popular since then.
So what have we learned about America thanks to this list? We pay attention to our Oscars, we love our famous people, and even when we do the right thing and rent some of the best American movies of the last decade, we also stay irrationally attached to the cheesy nonsense that represents the dark underbelly of Oscar season. Next time you visit someone's house and see a Netflix envelope sitting on the table, peek inside-- if it's The Blind Side, you're not allowed to be too surprised.
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